Aug 102008

Vladimir Vladimirovich once said, “the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” That’s what I think of when I see the buildup to events like those now taking place between Georgia and Russia. James Poulos at The Postmodern Conservative instead thinks about Putin statements about wanting a stable international system of sovereign states. When I watch the news and other programs on RTR Planeta I don’t get that at all, but then I don’t understand very much Russian, so I’m using a lot of non-verbal cues.

Here are some blog posts where I’ve stuck in my oar on this topic, listed here so I can remember where I’ve been talking:

—Late addition—

Here’s a new one:

And here’s an old one I had forgotten:

  • John,
    I have written the text/essay about what I think of the war in South Ossetia. Perhaps, you will interest it. In any way, I can say that my view on these events (I suppose) is quite close to majority of Russian people.

    Indeed, now in Russia there are radical and nationalists opinions, but them, I hope, are minority.

    I have to say that intially I wanted to write it into my blog in Russian, but after how I have visited the links on the The Postmodern Conservative that you gave, I have decided to write the English text… some like the contininuation of discussion. (pardon for my English)

    Here is the beginning of the my text (the link: ) :

    South Ossetia and the “Olympic” War

    (c) Alexander SEDOV, 2008

    Whether Russia is an empire or not, whether Putin wants to restore “Soviet Union” or not, – it’s no more than rhetoric, I think. Let’s agree that Russia is a big empire, Georgia is a small Caucasus empire, and United States of America are a global empire. At least, such was before The Summer Olympic Games of 2008.

    Every empire, I think, able to install own rules and laws for another regions and countries, if it wants. You can differently value this fact, but US recognized the independence of Kosovo against the international rules. Ok, they gave the example of how a great superpower must to act. So that to achieve these aims, a great superpower can bomb not only the military objects in another country, but also the objects of civil economic, bridges, TV offices etc. It was the lesson of 1999; I mean the air bombing of Yugoslavia. After it the World has changed absolutely.

    We see that firstly after the World War II it’s possibly to bomb European towns hiding behind by “rhetoric of law”. The interesting is the Russian society was against the first war in Chechniya in 1995-1996. But after the Yugoslavia precedent, the Pandorian box of “legitimacy of violence” (instead the logic of peace and negotiations) was opened. The second Chechniya war was absolutely different war as in sense in legitimacy as in physiological sense.

    …The interesting is that “small and democratic” Georgia being as small Caucasus empire mastered this lesson too. The all-out reactive bombing of Tskhinvalli (capital of South Ossetia) at night before the Beijing Olympics is very revealing example of new World order after Yugoslavia. The small Caucasus empire has relied on the global empire (USA), but another big empire (a.k.a. Russia) has decided to defend South Ossetia. Alas, Russia had too many reasons to do it, including the official agreements of peacemaking, the family ties between South and North Ossetia, and Russian citizenship of majority of the South-Ossetians. Finally, in this situation the demonstration of own weakness could be the extremely negative factor for Russia in Caucasus (and in the World too). Even worse than a local war conflict. Imagine, what would the North-Ossetians say if Russian government doesn’t suppress Georgian war attacks against civils in South Ossetia?


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